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Impact of karst areas on runoff generation, lateral flow and interbasin groundwater flow at the storm-event timescale

Abstract : Karst development influences the hydrological response of catchments. However, such an impact is poorly documented and even less quantified, especially over short scales of space and time. The aim of this article is thus to define karst influence on the different hydrological processes driving runoff generation, including interbasin groundwater flow (IGF) for elementary catchments at the storm-event timescale. IGFs are estimated at the scale of the river reach, by comparing inlet and outlet flows as well as the effective rainfall from the topographic elementary catchment. Three types of storm-event descriptors (characterizing water balance, hydrograph shape and lateral exchanges) were calculated for the 20 most important storm events of 108 stations in three French regions (Cévennes Mountains, Jura Mountains and Normandy), representative of different karst settings. These descriptors were compared and analysed according to catchment geology (karst, non-karst or mixed) and seasonality in order to explore the specific impact of karst areas on water balance, hydrograph shape, lateral exchanges and hydrogeological basin area. A statistical approach showed that, despite the variations with study areas, karst promotes (i) higher water infiltration from rivers during storm events, (ii) increased characteristic flood times and peak-flow attenuation, and (iii) lateral outflow. These influences are interpreted as mainly due to IGF loss that can be significant at the storm-event scale, representing around 50 % of discharge and 20 % of rainfall in the intermediate catchment. The spatial variability of such effects is also linked to contrasting lithology and karst occurrence. Our work thus provides a generic framework for assessing karst impact on the hydrological response of catchments to storm events; moreover, it can analyse flood-event characteristics in various hydro-climatic settings and can help with testing the influence of other physiographic parameters on runoff generation.
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https://hal-brgm.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03169475
Contributeur : Emilie Lenoir <>
Soumis le : lundi 15 mars 2021 - 13:04:07
Dernière modification le : jeudi 15 avril 2021 - 14:02:01

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Martin Le Mesnil, Roger Moussa, Jean-Baptiste Charlier, Yvan Caballero. Impact of karst areas on runoff generation, lateral flow and interbasin groundwater flow at the storm-event timescale. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, European Geosciences Union, 2021, 25 (3), pp.1259 - 1282. ⟨10.5194/hess-25-1259-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03169475⟩

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